Every country and culture has one of those inherent tastes you grow to love. The kind of social oddities that bind certain groups together while simultaneously disgusting the rest of the world. It’s kind of like the secret handshake to your national culture club. Then you can go backpacking to some other country and give a little nudge nudge wink wink to a fellow national as you hash out the difference between Pop and Soda (by the way, in the Southern US they call all flavours of pop “Coke”. How’s that for being top of mind?), or the great Canadian/American dilemma: Macaroni & Cheese vs. Kraft Dinner.
If you’re British, you’ve got Marmite. The non-British hatred and mockery of Marmite is so universally stereotypical that I feel like a boring wannabe for getting on the bandwagon. I like to think of myself as a little more worldly and open-minded, with the discerning palette to match. And so I tried Marmite once. Upon tasting Marmite, there is one very immediate, logical, and overwhelming conslusion: Marmite absolutely tastes like a yeast infection. There’s no other way to imagine it. It’s heinous almost beyond words. Even the little jars it comes in look nasty:
If you’re Australian, then you’ve got Marmite’s evil twin, Vegemite. Never say never, and maybe I’ll be totally loaded in Australia one day and throw caution to the wind, but based on my Marmite experience I can fairly safely say I would need to be water-boarded for several hours before I’d even consider trying Vegemite.
If you’re Canadian, then you’re likely all too familiar with the pure liquid evil that is Buckley’s Mixture. Famous for its brilliant tag line “It tastes awful. And it works.”, your first time drinking Buckley’s is a physical and mental experience akin to losing your virginity or getting waxed for the first time. It’s simply something you don’t forget. That’s how overwhelmingly vile it is. If you haven’t tried it, it boasts a consistency and flavour similar to what could really only be described as salted, mentholated snot. Or, let’s all be honest, semen.
Both brands have taken the perfect angle of not fighting against their inherent grossness, but instead capitalizing on it. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. In their latest print campaign from DDB London, Marmite has created a series of posters where each image is a play on either loving Marmite or hating it. You can check out the full series here, but this one is my favourite:
Officially, it’s supposed to be a play on either putting a Marmite rice cake either into your mouth or into a garbage can. I’m pretty sure that nobody at DDB London missed the fact that what it really looks like is pulling a Marmite rice cake out of someone’s ass. Or, if that’s your sort of thing, putting it in someone’s ass. Which is appropriate, because ass is pretty much what Marmite tastes like.
As for Buckley’s, they recently knocked it out of the park with a viral and TV campaign showing the iconic “blind taste test” where people couldn’t tell the difference between Buckley’s and a host of other disgusting fluids, my personal favourite being “Buckley’s vs. Spring Break Hot Tub Water”:
Other highlights include Used Mouthwash, Snail Trail, Trash Bag Leakage, and the terrifyingly vague “Public Restroom Puddle”. Ah, the subtlety.